The 5 Best Laptops Under $500
Whatsapp Pinterest
Advertisement

The $500 budget for laptops has historically met everyone’s needs, whether it’s as a worker in an office, a student at school, or anyone who needs a home PC. It’s the right price to get something that will last you for a few years without needing to upgrade.

In fact, depending on what you need your computer to do, you might be wasting money on an expensive laptop. From good 2-in-1 hybrids to surprisingly good desktop replacements, you will get it all for less than $500.

Note: These are laptops available between $400 and $500. If you want something cheaper, check our picks for the best laptops under $400.

Best Specs and Overall Laptop Under $500
Asus VivoBook F510UA

asus vivobook f510ua best laptop under $500

ASUS VivoBook F510UA 15.6” Full HD Nanoedge Laptop, Intel Core i5-8250U Processor, 8GB DDR4 RAM, 1TB HDD, USB-C, Fingerprint, Windows 10 Home - F510UA-AH51, Star Gray ASUS VivoBook F510UA 15.6” Full HD Nanoedge Laptop, Intel Core i5-8250U Processor, 8GB DDR4 RAM, 1TB HDD, USB-C, Fingerprint, Windows 10 Home - F510UA-AH51, Star Gray Buy Now At Amazon $509.99

  • Operating System: Windows 10 Home
  • Processor: Intel Core i5 8250u
  • Touchscreen: No
  • Screen: 15.6 inch Full HD (1920×1080 pixels)
  • Memory: 8GB DDR4 RAM
  • Storage: 1TB SATA Hard Drive
  • Ports: 1xUSB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, 1xUSB-C, HDMI
  • Notable Features: Surprisingly thin and light for its size
  • Biggest Problem: Battery life could be better

Technically, the Asus VivoBook F510UA is ten bucks more than our intended budget. But you should spend that extra ten; beg, borrow or steal if you have to. There is no doubt that the F510UA is the best laptop at this price.

It’s truly surprising how sleek and light the laptop is, compared to most others with 15-inch screens. The thin bezels have a part to play in this, and Asus has done an excellent job with the overall design by keeping it under 4 pounds.

That said, the sleekness seems to have resulted in a lower-than-expected battery. Such large laptops generally tend to have excellent battery life, but the VivoBook F510UA gives you about six hours of usage. That’s not bad, mind you, but it’s not great either.

Also Consider: If you are adamant about the $500 budget and want longer battery life, go with the Acer Spin 3. It’s a much slower processor so the performance takes a hit, and it’s not as sleek and light either. I’d always recommend spending the additional $10.

Best Mini Tablet PC or Hybrid Laptop Under $500
Microsoft Surface Go

microsoft surface go best 2-in-1 under $500

  • Operating System: Windows 10 S
  • Processor: Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y
  • Touchscreen: Yes
  • Screen: 10 inch PixelSense Display (1800×1200 pixels)
  • Memory: 4GB DDR4 RAM
  • Storage: 64GB Flash Memory
  • Ports: 1xUSB-C
  • Notable Features: Excellent tablet, decent laptop
  • Biggest Problem: Limited ports, and screen takes getting used to

Microsoft is marketing its new 2-in-1 device, the Microsoft Surface Go, as a $399 tablet-and-laptop. But that “and-laptop” costs another $100 for the keyboard attachment. Put the whole package together and the Surface Go for $500 is quite good.

The squarish screen (3:2 aspect ratio), like an iPad, takes a little getting used to since most laptops use a standard widescreen (16:9 aspect ratio). Plus the bezels are pretty large. But these are small issues and you’ll get over them soon.

But all put together, the Surface Go is a good package. While the upgraded version (with more storage and RAM) obviously has better performance, this $399+$100 version matches up or surpasses some of the best 2-in-1 hybrid laptops.

Its biggest problem actually is the lack of ports. You will need a dongle to connect anything. You can’t just plug in a regular USB drive.

Also Consider: The cheaper version of the Microsoft Surface Go isn’t easily available in all countries or stores yet. Plus, it’s a better tablet than a laptop. If you want to go the other way around, where you pick a better laptop that sometimes turns into a tablet, then go with our previous pick, the Asus Transformer Book Chi T300. It feels like a standard laptop, but it’s cool that the screen pops out to use as a tablet.

Best Laptop for School and Work Under $400
Dell Inspiron 13 2-in-1

dell inspiron 13 best multimedia laptop under $300

Dell Inspiron 13 2-in-1: Core i3-7100U, 13.3inch Full HD Touch Display, 1TB HDD, 4GB RAM, Windows 10 Dell Inspiron 13 2-in-1: Core i3-7100U, 13.3inch Full HD Touch Display, 1TB HDD, 4GB RAM, Windows 10 Buy Now At Amazon $575.00

  • Operating System: Windows 10 Home
  • Processor: Intel Core i3 7100u
  • Touchscreen: Yes
  • Screen: 13.3 inch Full HD (1920×1080 pixels)
  • Memory: 4GB DDR4 RAM
  • Storage: 1TB SATA Hard Drive
  • Ports: 1xUSB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, HDMI
  • Notable Features: Excellent battery life
  • Biggest Problem: Wi-Fi performance is a bit weak

The Dell Inspiron 13 is a balanced laptop for most students and regular office workers. It’s not too heavy, it’s not too light. Its performance is good, but it won’t do heavy tasks like AutoCAD and stuff. It has an excellent screen with wide viewing angles, and good audio, so you can watch movies as a group.

The only real problem with the Dell Inspiron 13 is that a number of people have complained about its Wi-Fi performance. It isn’t a strong receiver, so if you move far away from the router, your data speeds might drop or you might lose connectivity altogether.

Also Consider: If you prefer an SSD to a hard drive, take a look at the Acer SP513. Most of the things are the same between the two laptops, but the Acer model is easy to tinker with, so you can upgrade the laptop RAM for a performance boost.

Best Convertible or Flip Laptop Under $500
Dell Inspiron 11

Dell Inspiron 11 best convertible laptop under $500

2018 Flagship Dell Inspiron 11.6" Business 2 in 1 HD Touchscreen Laptop/Tablet - AMD Dual-Core A9-9420e 8GB DDR4 256GB SSD AMD Radeon R5 MaxxAudio Bluetooth 802.11bgn HDMI HD Webcam USB 3.1 Windows 10 2018 Flagship Dell Inspiron 11.6" Business 2 in 1 HD Touchscreen Laptop/Tablet - AMD Dual-Core A9-9420e 8GB DDR4 256GB SSD AMD Radeon R5 MaxxAudio Bluetooth 802.11bgn HDMI HD Webcam USB 3.1 Windows 10 Buy Now At Amazon $482.82

  • Operating System: Windows 10 Home
  • Processor: AMD A9 9420e
  • Touchscreen: Yes
  • Screen: 11.6 inch HD (1366×768 pixels)
  • Memory: 8GB DDR4 RAM
  • Storage: 256GB Solid State Drive
  • Ports: 1xUSB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0, HDMI
  • Notable Features: Best for portability
  • Biggest Problem: Audio volume is low

If portability is the biggest factor and you want a Windows laptop, this 2018 Dell Inspiron 11 model is going to be perfect. The touchscreen also flips over a full 360 degrees to turn it into a tablet mode.

This is the first budget laptop where we are recommending AMD over Intel processors, and there’s a reason for that. The AMD A9 9420e is the fanless variant of this popular AMD model (and the fan usually leads to a lot of noise). Plus it comes with 8GB RAM, which is almost mandatory for good performance on AMD’s APUs. Add the SSD, and it’s a quiet, light laptop that ekes out more battery.

While all those factors come together well, Dell has messed up the audio. You can still hear it, of course, but the speakers’ volume is far too low for watching movies or listening to music. You’ll usually need headphones or external speakers.

By the way, if you don’t prefer Windows, there are great Linux distros you can install on any laptop The 5 Best Linux Distros for Laptops The 5 Best Linux Distros for Laptops Looking for a Linux distro to revive an old laptop? Here are several great choices to breathe new life into an old notebook PC. Read More .

Best Chromebook Under $500
Asus Chromebook Flip C302

asus chromebook flip c302 best chromebook under $500

ASUS C302CA-DHM4 Chromebook Flip 12.5-inch Touchscreen Convertible Chromebook, Intel Core m3, 4GB RAM, 64GB Flash Storage, All-Metal Body, USB Type C, Corning Gorilla Glass, Chrome OS ASUS C302CA-DHM4 Chromebook Flip 12.5-inch Touchscreen Convertible Chromebook, Intel Core m3, 4GB RAM, 64GB Flash Storage, All-Metal Body, USB Type C, Corning Gorilla Glass, Chrome OS Buy Now At Amazon $476.98

  • Operating System: Chrome OS
  • Processor: Intel Core m3
  • Touchscreen: Yes
  • Screen: 12.5 inch HD (1920×1080 pixels)
  • Memory: 4GB DDR4 RAM
  • Storage: 64GB Flash Memory
  • Ports: 2xUSB-C
  • Notable Features: Best Chromebook
  • Biggest Problem: Audio volume is low, no USB ports

The Chromebook has gotten better and better with age. When you’re ready to ditch Windows, don’t even think twice and get the Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA. You’ll never look back.

The Chromebook Flip does not skimp on the hardware, unlike most other Chrome-based laptops. It has a fantastic 12.5-inch Full HD screen, an Intel Core M processor, 4G RAM, and 64GB SSD. And hey, you get a USB Type-C port too. All put together, this is a well-performing machine that will feel fast and powerful with its Chrome OS.

One of the things to keep in mind when buying a Chromebook is Android support. Some current and all future Chromebooks will support Android apps, which makes them far more useful than ever before. Asus has also confirmed that the Chromebook Flip C302CA will work with Android. Since it has an excellent touchscreen and the ability to flip the screen back, you get two devices for the price of one.

Also Consider: The Asus Chromebook Flip C302 is perhaps the best value-for-money Chromebook today, so don’t look beyond it. But in case you’ve made up your mind and want to see other options, check our list of the best Chromebooks you can buy.

Don’t Buy a Gaming Laptop Under $500

Sorry everyone, even at $500, you can’t get a good laptop for gaming. Any laptop that you want to play games on should have a dedicated GPU and a Full HD screen, but there is no such option in this budget.

The closest you can get is the Acer Aspire with Radeon R7 M440, which is an entry-level graphics unit. Honestly, forget about gaming.

2018 Acer Aspire 15.6-inch Full-HD E5 Laptop PC, AMD Quad Core A12 Processor, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD, AMD Radeon R7 M440 Graphics, Windows 10 2018 Acer Aspire 15.6-inch Full-HD E5 Laptop PC, AMD Quad Core A12 Processor, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD, AMD Radeon R7 M440 Graphics, Windows 10 Buy Now At Amazon $524.99

If the models listed in this article don’t work for you, we also have lineups of the cheapest high-quality laptops for students on a budget The 5 Cheapest High-Quality Laptops for Students on a Tight Budget The 5 Cheapest High-Quality Laptops for Students on a Tight Budget There are Windows-based laptops that work well for student life and cost less than $600. Read More and another selection of the best laptops for school by major The Best Laptops for School by Major in 2016 The Best Laptops for School by Major in 2016 What are the best laptops for school? It depends on the student's academic focus. Engineering majors don't need the same laptop as liberal arts majors. Here's what you need. Read More .

Explore more about: Buying Tips, Chromebook, Ultrabook, Windows.

Enjoyed this article? Stay informed by joining our newsletter!

Enter your Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. David Martchouk
    August 22, 2018 at 9:37 pm

    What about gaming on the Asus Chromebook m3 CPU with Android games, still not powerful enough for Android games?

  2. Tee
    August 17, 2017 at 6:51 am

    What a coinkydink. I have that very same Acer Aspire E5 model, and would like to add that the GeForce 940MX is also not the DDR3 model, but the GDDR5 model, reviews of which I have seen absolutely _nowhere_. I've had some luck playing non-AAA games (MechWarrior Online, Secret World Legends) at native resolution without bumping down detail pretty much at all.

    It also has an interesting RAM access port on the bottom, in that you don't have to take the entire thing apart to add a second 8 Gb stick for dual-channel goodness (yes, it runs single-channel, but yes, it has two slots). Just a few screws, and you're in.

  3. Bhagwanmike
    August 17, 2017 at 5:19 am

    To paraphrase Inigo Montoya, "That word... You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

  4. Doc
    August 17, 2017 at 12:12 am

    "Best “Get Things Done” Laptop: Acer Aspire E15 E5-575-33BM ($350)"

    I got one of these when it was a "Kinja Deals" deal-of-the-day (I'm using it right now). Very nice...the backlit keyboard is a nice touch, and the HD screen isn't too bad. Not the fastest - but light and powerful enough for work.